IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action

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Author/Publisher: OCHA
Language: English

Download: Click here to download the report.


Why a gender handbook for humanitarian action?

In the rush to provide humanitarian response when a disaster hits or a conflict erupts, the appeal to “pay attention to gender issues” often falls on deaf ears and may seem irrelevant. It is not. “Paying attention to gender issues” or putting on a ”gender lens” quite simply means recognizing the different needs, capacities and contributions of women, girls, boys and men. Ignoring or being blind to these different needs can have serious implications for the protection and survival of people caught up in humanitarian crises.

This Handbook sets forth standards for the integration of gender issues from the outset of a new complex emergency or disaster, so that humanitarian services provided neither exacerbate nor inadvertently put people at risk; reach their target audience; and have maximum positive impact.

Who is the target audience of this handbook?

The target audience for this Handbook is field practitioners responding to humanitarian emergencies that result from conflict or natural hazards. In particular, the Handbook targets sector/cluster actors. Humanitarian Coordinators and others in leadership positions will also benefit from this tool as it provides guidance on how to analyse the situation from a gender perspective, implement gender-aware activities and measure effectiveness. The Handbook will also assist donors to hold humanitarian actors accountable for integrating gender perspectives and promoting equality in all aspects of their work.

How is this handbook structured?

The Handbook is divided into two sections: A: Fundamental Principles and B: Areas of Work. Section A should be studied by all readers and used in combination with the specific sector chapters in Section B.

Section A includes four chapters covering the core principles, mandates, definitions and frameworks for gender equality.

   1. Basics of Gender in Emergencies.[word] [pdf]
   2. International Legal Framework for Protection [word] [pdf]
   3. Coordination on Gender Equality in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   4. Participation in Humanitarian Action [word] [pdf]

Section B provides sector- and cluster-specific guidance. The IASC Clusters at Headquarters have prepared these chapters as a practical tool for ensuring that gender equality programming is undertaken and monitored in each sector at field level.

 Each chapter is divided into:

    * A brief overview of gender issues related to the sector;
    * A series of questions on what to look for or ask so that programmes are designed and implemented with sensitivity to the different needs of women, girls, boys and men;
    * Specific actions to ensure gender equality programming; and
    * A checklist for monitoring gender equality programming.

The checklists, together with the sample indicators in the Basics Chapter, serve as a basis for project staff to develop context-specific indicators to measure progress in the incorporation of gender issues into humanitarian action.

The areas of work include:

   1. Gender and Camp Coordination and Camp Management in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   2. Gender and Education in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   3. Gender and Food Issues in Emergencies
      The IASC Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings serve as a complement to the Gender Handbook and should be used in conjunction with it.
      The GBV Guidelines provide humanitarian actors with a set of minimum interventions in all sectors to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
      [word] [pdf]
          * Gender and Food Security in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
          * Gender and Food Distribution in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
          * Gender and Nutrition in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   4. Gender and Health in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   5. Gender and Livelihoods in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   6. Gender and Non-food Items in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   7. Gender and Registration in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   8. Gender and Shelter in Emergencies [word] [pdf]
   9. Gender and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies [word] [pdf]

Framework for Gender Equality Programming

Framework with sample performance indicators and key definitions [word] [pdf]
Analyse gender differences.
Design services to meet needs of all.
Access for women, girls, boys & men.
Participate equally
Train women and men equally.
Address GBV in sector programmes.
Collect, analyse and report sex/age
   disaggregated data.
Target actions based on a gender
Coordinate actions with all partners.

Collectively to ensure gender equality

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